A fundraising email from the gubernatorial campaign of Zephyr Teachout sent out Wednesday urges supporters to contribute money to pay for election lawyers — a sign the campaign expects a challenge to its ballot petitions from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Teachout, a Fordham law professor, is running a Democratic primary against Cuomo alongside her running mate, Columbia professor Tim Wu.

In the email, the Teachout-Wu campaign writes that $20,000 is needed to pay legal fees in order to maintain their ballot status.

“New York politics is a blood sport – fought with dueling lawyers,” the email says. “In one corner we have Andrew Cuomo with $33 million in the bank, ready to spend what it takes to keep us off the ballot. In the other – our scrappy team, overcoming the odds to collect nearly three times as many signatures as the law requires.”

The ballot petitions — at least 15,000 is required, but the campaign says it has gotten at least 45,000 in recent weeks — are due on Thursday.

The email also warns supporters that without Teachout and Wu on the ticket, liberals will only have Cuomo and his “Republican-lite policies” to vote for (I’m sure Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, who has automatic ballot status this cycle, and his supporters would disagree).

“It’s simple — if we don’t get on the ballot, you won’t have a chance to vote against him and his Republican-lite policies,” the email states.

The full note is after the jump.

Friend —

New York politics is a blood sport – fought with dueling lawyers. In one corner we have Andrew Cuomo with $33 million in the bank, ready to spend what it takes to keep us off the ballot. In the other – our scrappy team, overcoming the odds to collect nearly three times as many signatures as the law requires.

It’s simple — if we don’t get on the ballot, you won’t have a chance to vote against him and his Republican-lite policies.

We need to raise $20,000 for lawyers to defend our right to be on the ballot – and to make sure you can vote for a real Democrat in this year’s primary. In other words, we need your urgent donation.

No one expected us to put together a campaign so quickly and overcome the hurdles facing a progressive insurgent in New York. Our success stems from the hundreds of New Yorkers who have stepped up to give $5, $15, or even $50. They’re joining us in pushing back against tax breaks for large corporations and deep-pocketed campaign donors.

Yes, I’ll make a donation to make sure Zephyr gets on the ballot.

Given the values of New York’s electorate, our state should already have passed campaign finance reform, fair funding for education, the Women’s Equality Act, and a fracking ban. And Gov. Cuomo is a big reason for us not having those things. He prefers Republicans and breakaway Democrats over real Democrats.

There’s only 24 hours before we file our petitions. Donate now so we can back up those names with legal muscle.

Yours for a New York that works for #AllofUs,

Charles, Ayse, Tiffiniy and the whole Teachout – Wu Campaign